Personal Learning Networks

The new shape of information


Yesterday Vicki Butler and I attended an online presentation through LMC@The Forefront. The subject –  Personal Learning Networks – was presented by David Warlick, a nationally renowned school technology advocate.  You can read more about it here at the ISTE Technology site.

Here is an excerpt from the link above:

As we work in a time of rapid change, with students who are digital natives, from within a dramatically new information landscape, the best description of the 21st Century teacher is Master Learner. Participants in this presentation will learn how to utilize a variety of new web-based applications to construct and cultivate personal learning networks. Educators will learn to attract information from other professional educators, experts in the fields of study, current news and news searches, student perspective, relevant resources from a growing library of web-based digital content, and other content sources to assist them in adapting to this age of change. (diagram from:

I advanced my thinking on a number of fronts after this short presentation.  Learning networks are quite familiar to Librarians but for a long time I have been thinking that the tremendous fragmentation of information has been a negative thing:  something to manage and hard to keep up with.  Now my thinking is shifting from:

Fragmentation  ——>   Networking

David talked about these shifts as well:

Classroom Learning —–>  Network Learning

Institutional Learning —–> Independent Learning

Learning Literacy —–>  Learning Lifestyle

It’s given me a lot to think about. Personal Learning Networks are more convenient to build in a networked environment. What I think is very new is the fact that “conversations” too have become information artifacts and I am still trying to get my head around the implications of that.  Information and communications are converging in strange new ways. Now that we have the tools to train these conversations to find us (as in RSS, iGoogle pages etc.) they become more managable.


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